ACL Injuries and Physical Therapy
One of the most common knee injuries is an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) sprain or tear. ACL injuries are common in high intensity sports such as football, soccer and basketball and can cause knee pain, limit range of motion and overall strength of the knee. While the knee is made up of many bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, the anterior cruciate ligament is a vital supporting structure that helps keep the shin and thigh bone in place. Fortunately, ACL injuries can often be diagnosed and treated by a Physical Therapist before resorting to surgery.
If you suspect you have a knee injury, making an appointment with a physical therapist is a good first line of treatment. They will be able to examine and evaluate your knee to test stability and range of motion. An MRI may be ordered to examine the knee in more detail if an injury is suspected.
Physical therapy is an ideal treatment for ACL injuries. A skilled physical therapist can help develop a treatment program to help strengthen the knee and regain normal mobility. Treatment may include strengthening exercises, range of motion exercises and balance exercises. Strengthening exercises are not only aimed at repairing the ACL, but also to target the muscles in the hamstrings and hip muscles. These targeted areas all affect the ACL tremendously. The treatment plan may also include various specialized techniques to reduce pain and swelling to optimize the treatment plan. For athletes, returning to normal functioning with the ability to run and jump is often high priority.
Physical therapy is also recommended for patients who have recently undergone surgery for an ACL tear. Post surgical treatments can help speed up the healing process, decrease pain and swelling, and help you return to normal functioning quicker.
Working with a physical therapist after an injury can also help you avoid any further damage or injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament in the future. The same, or similar exercises that are used in your post injury treatment can be continued after healing to help your knees maintain at their optimal health!
If you suspect a knee injury, don’t hesitate to call us at Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness Center at 347-560-6920.